Local Bakersfield City School District educators came together for the annual State of the District breakfast Friday, where district officials outlined goals they have to help all students succeed.
Superintendent Doc Ervin said the district will continue to prioritize the importance of literacy and math and will establish Extended Learning Academies focused on science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) at all school sites in the 2019-2020 school year.
“Our vision is to be the model of educational excellence, equity and innovation,” Ervin said. “We have to be not only the best of the best, but we have to strive to be better for kids.”
Students must be literate by third grade, proficient in math by fifth grade and have a mastery of standards by time they leave the district, he added.
Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services Mark Luque said all school sites must promote a culture of reading, develop structures to include a balanced literacy system, connect literacy to career opportunities and use questioning to drive deep learning in order to achieve growth.
“A literate child is a powerful child,” Luque said.
With mathematics, the district hopes to create a culture that moves away from simply using textbooks to teach lessons and improve students’ flexibility and fluidity of number sense.
The 2019-2020 school year saw the formal launch of BCSD’s Extended Learning Program’s After School Academies across all 43 school sites. Implementation of STEAM activities is the result of a year-long planning process with all stakeholders in the district and community partners, said Deanna Clark, director of extended learning.
For three hours every day after school, a group of students engage in project-based learning that more closely aligns with what they experience in college and the workforce.
“The average job for our first-graders right now has not even been invented,” Clark said. “The world is fast moving and the jobs in science, technology, engineering, the arts, mathematics are where our students need to go in the future.”
By 2022, there will be an estimated 58 million STEAM jobs created worldwide, according to the World Economic Forum Future of Jobs Report 2018.
For schools with a science academy, students are focused on phenomenon-based learning where they are free to think and move away from textbook science, officials explained. The technology academies will expose students to computer science concepts and ways to integrate other STEAM fields.
In the engineering academies, the goal is to create collaborative student engineers who are innovative problem solvers. The arts academies will have five disciplines available: dance, music, theater arts, visual arts and media arts.
Williams Elementary School will have an agricultural academy — under the science umbrella — available for students. Ground has yet to be broken, but Principal Jazmine Frias said it will bring several positives to students and the community.
“Trying to get parents more engaged here, we wanted an academy that would do two things,” Frias said. “We’re going to get our students involved hands-on with what social emotional learning looks like, and we’re going to have a space where we can invite our community to come in.”
Several parents want to get involved with the school, but they are oftentimes intimidated in an educational setting, Frias explained. Having the garden on site will help parents connect to the setting more since at home they are “making salsa ... cooking albondigas. They’re familiar with that.”
For more information on Extended Learning, visit www.bcsd.com/apps/pages/index.jsp?uREC_ID=1058770&type=d&pREC_ID=1355243.